Mary Killen

Mary Killen writes The Spectator's Dear Mary column.

Dear Mary solves problems for Sir Les Patterson, Rachel Johnson, Rory Stewart and more

14 December 2013 9:00 am

Once again Mary has invited some of her favourite figures in the public eye to submit personal queries for her…

Dear Mary: How appropriate is it to send a Christmas card with the word 'merry' to a widow? 

7 December 2013 9:00 am

Q. Six years ago a rather glamorous man bought the house opposite me. Although he always responds to requests for…

Dear Mary: How can I tell my mother-in-law she's being mean?

30 November 2013 9:00 am

Q. My egregious mother-in-law turns 80 this December. She is not short of a bob but for one of my…

Dear Mary: How to enlist people with field marshal experience to deal with bossy party hostesses

23 November 2013 9:00 am

Q. A friend generously hosts an annual Christmas party in London where we see many old friends we have been…

Dear Mary: How can I be ready when Cupid strikes?

16 November 2013 9:00 am

Q. Walking at a local beauty spot the other day, I passed a handsome young man. We exchanged a few…

Mary Killen: Sandi Toksvig is wrong about the placement of the pudding fork

9 November 2013 9:00 am

Sandi Toksvig, as this book’s cover declares, ‘makes Stephen Fry look like a layabout’. The broadcaster, author, comedian, actress and…

Dear Mary: How do I empty a chamberpot without my hosts noticing?

9 November 2013 9:00 am

Q. One of our daughter’s godmothers has given very generous presents but never with any regularity. She was unable to…

Dear Mary: Should I thrust my backside at other people in the theatre?

2 November 2013 9:00 am

Q. I am no interior decorator, but we have a couple of rather subtle paint colours in the house that…

Dear Mary — The e-cigarette party is the new Tupperware party

26 October 2013 9:00 am

Q. One of my oldest and best friends, who has lived up north for years, begged me to let her…

Dear Mary: What do I do when the pizzas arrive at the opening of my art show?

19 October 2013 9:00 am

Q. I spent a week in a house party abroad, with an elderly and extremely polite friend of mine and…

Dear Mary

12 October 2013 9:00 am

Q. Is it acceptable to deal with time-critical online business while attending church? Some matters just won’t wait — Glastonbury tickets…

Dear Mary: How can I make a surgeon give me my book back?

5 October 2013 9:00 am

Q. Towards the end of last year, I began three months of treatment for a knee replacement. During one consultation…

How can I be a member of the Chipping Norton set?

28 September 2013 9:00 am

Q. I am working on becoming a member of the Chipping Norton set. Should I be pronouncing the excellent open-air…

Dear Mary: How can I make my host pour me a drink?

21 September 2013 9:00 am

Q. Some years ago, on holiday in Egypt, we found ourselves in the company of a couple who wanted to…

Dear Mary: The rules of wearing a dressing gown

14 September 2013 9:00 am

Q. What to do when you are an unwilling eavesdropper in a train carriage in which people you know assume…

Dear Mary

7 September 2013 9:00 am

Q. In response to correspondence re. wedding gifts: there is no need for a couple to have a list at…

Dear Mary: How can I stop this bore reading his novel aloud?

31 August 2013 9:00 am

Q. Is there a polite way of halting a wannabe novelist from reading his oeuvre aloud to an unwilling audience?…

Dear Mary

24 August 2013 9:00 am

Q. My boyfriend, an artist, is driving himself and others mad by his inability to keep track of his mobile.…

Dear Mary: How will I know if he really loves me?

17 August 2013 9:00 am

Q. To ask for money in lieu of a wedding present (Dear Mary, 3 August) is ghastly, but an established…

Dear Mary: How can I tell her that her table manners are disgusting?

10 August 2013 9:00 am

Q. My mainly male colleagues and I were happy to learn that an attractive young woman would be joining the…

Dear Mary

3 August 2013 9:00 am

Q. I very recently attended my son’s black-tie leavers’ ball at his school on one of the hottest evenings of…

Dear Mary: What must I do to reclaim the best poolside chair?

27 July 2013 9:00 am

Q. I know this seems petty but last year, on our villa holiday, my brother-in-law always took the best chair…

Dear Mary: Why it's fine to crash funerals

20 July 2013 9:00 am

Q. Regarding the writing of ‘no presents’ on an invitation (Dear Mary, 6 July), my own experience is that many…

Dear Mary: How can I stop friends from coming to my book launch?

13 July 2013 9:00 am

Q.  I have far too many friends to be able to invite them all to my forthcoming book launch. How…

Dear Mary: How can I stop my friends giving me Christmas presents?

6 July 2013 9:00 am

Q. Over the years my close friends locally have been giving each other birthday and Christmas presents. Now, as I…